Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Craft-tacular

So, as always I have decided to do too many things at once.
Christmas is rapidly approaching, and I love to make my own gifts.
Unfortunately my ambition always outweighs my time frame, and I make lofty goals with no way to complete them.
However, last year I got everything done right down to the wire, and perhaps this year with a little more organization and better laid out plan, I will be able to get everything accomplished.
Here is the list-
Two throw sized quilts (don't turn on me now. They are not patchwork quilts)
One queen sized throw (Okay, so that one might not be able to happen because quilt supplies are expensive enough, and this would be an additional gift to one I already had planned)
One knitted hat, (or maybe 4 knitted hats, depending upon whether I decide to send a surprise gift early to my nephews)
three stenciled bags
One piece of original art
One batch of chocolate chip cookies (or an apple pie. Last year I perfected my crust, and I saw this awesome little apple shaped pie mold for only $10)
This doesn't even count the teacher appreciation gifts, the cards to mail out and items for co-workers, church friends and part-time babysitters.
I'm a mad woman and I need to be stopped.
But first gift - COMPLETED!
I hit up the 40% off sale at Hancock Fabrics and got all my materials for my two throw sized quilts. I had no intention of patchworking and putting edging on these pieces, because I didn't want to completely lose my mind. So this is how I did it, and it was super easy.
Buy 60" of 45"wide fabric for the top, and another 60" for the bottom. Layer the pieces like a quilt sandwich - front piece (pretty side up), bottom piece (pretty side down) then batting. It seemed silly to me too, kind of like making a bread, bread, peanut butter sandwich, but bear with me.
After I sewed up three side, I flipped the whole thing inside out, just like I was making a pillow, and BAM - it looked like a quilt. I pushed out the corners, ironed the edges, then sewed the open end.
But we're still not done. I had to do something to keep the batting from slipping, sliding and bunching on the inside. So, I was going to have to tack it. I folded the quilt in quarters to find the center and threaded my yarn needle. With a pretty piece of pink yarn, I dove the needle into the center and back up and then tied the yarn in a knot. Then I continued to tack in 5" intervals all over the quilt.
The whole project took 6 hours, and my Maw will be so pleased.
Things I learned:
1. high loft batting, when sewed as the top layer, can get tangled up in your presser foot, so be very careful to keep it flat.
2. There is a reason quilting stores sell large plexiglass rulers. They are to press the fabric down so you can easily trim access. I did not have one of those large rulers, so I used a very large book instead.
3. A bed does not make the best cutting table, but it will due. I am SHOCKED I did not cut a big hole in my comforter.
4.I used three pairs of scissors and always left them out of arms reach of where ever I needed them. Considering getting a tool belt.
I went ahead and knocked out the sewing part of my second scheduled holiday quilt, and just have to tack it tonight. Also, I got a friendly reminder from my husband to come up with a manlier way to tack, because the second quilt was for his dad and yarn ties looked "girly."
You know, I don't tell him how to study for his law finals.
Whatever, besides, yarn ties might be a little girly, but I'll figure that out tonight.
Wish me luck.

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